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DU banquet raises big bucks for ducks

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Full bellies and lighter wallets, all in the name of conservation.

The 35th-annual Ducks Unlimited (DU) banquet and auction held Friday night at the Fort Frances Curling Club was an enjoyable endeavour for all once again.

About 200 people packed the local rink to help raise roughly $32,000 for the Fort Frances branch of DU.

“It went very, very well. We had a really good night, it seemed like people enjoyed themselves and it looks like we did very well for the amount of money that we brought in,” enthused Fort Frances DU committee chairman and event co-organizer Charles Fisher.

"So that's good. We don't have a complete total yet, we still have some bills and stuff that we're still waiting on, but we should be in the range of about $32,000 for the night—which is great.

“Anything north of 30 [thousand] I think is a great result for us,” he added.

Last year's event also raised more than $30,000 for important wetland conservation initiatives in Ontario and across Canada, making it one of the top fundraising events in Ontario.

Since 1984, the local chapter has contributed more than $860,000 to Ducks Unlimited Canada.

“We've been around [30 thousand] for the last few years, since we relaunched the event a few years ago, so if we can meet that 30-thousand then we're pretty happy with that and anything on top of that is bonus,” Fisher noted.

The Fort Frances DU committee and DU Canada are proud to recognize the contributions made to conservation by individuals and businesses in Rainy River District.

This year's recipients of the Conservation Awards were Dr. Jas Spencer (individual) and Daryl's Custom Landscapes (business) for their long-standing support and contributions.

A prime rib dinner, complete with all the fixings, was prepared and served by local chef Todd Moxham to all the hungry patrons on hand.

Another special part of the evening was all of the banquet's sponsors being brought up front and honoured for their contributions with custom made prints.

Longtime auctioneer Telford Advent of Riverbend Auction Services then used his balance of humour and skill during the live auction portion of the night to send home all of the wonderful auction items.

DU Canada's story always has been one of perseverance.

Whether that's joining forces with landowners, government, and other partners to restore, conserve, and protect wetlands so their physical and functional characteristics are returned to the land, working to ensure wetland conservation stays top of mind with provincial and municipal decision-makers, or connecting their conservation work to local communities through the steadfast support of passionate volunteers.

DU Canada and the DU Fort Frances committee are proud donors to various community events and fundraisers, such as the 908 Rainy Lake Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, Rainy River District Agricultural Society, and Relay For Life.

The DU Fort Frances committee also is partnering with Project Sunset and Manitou Forest Products to hold a nest box building day with area youth.

Nest boxes provide safe nesting locations for ducks and other wetland wildlife and will be placed in wetland areas around Rainy River District.

Nest box building with youth also provides an opportunity to introduce them to wetland conservation and helps encourage the next generation of DU members and volunteers to get involved at a young age.

“There's a lot of people who really look forward to our banquet every year, people come out and have a good time, and we're raising money for a good cause but it's also great for people to have a night that they enjoy and look forward to all year,” Fisher enthused.

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